JohnSWilson3 Blog

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
August 28, 2009, 1:32 am
Filed under: J First Letter to the Corinthians

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul” went on his third missionary journey and finally “arrived at Ephesus.” He had “traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.” What a man! As I think of this I think of enjoying all the hikes that I’ve done over the many years…so much fun! Here Paul must have enjoyed his time hiking and enjoying life together with the body of Christ that had formed in the previous towns and cities he had gone to earlier. God was finding a home to dwell in wherever Paul went!

Like at Corinth, Paul also spent a long time, a couple years at least in Ephesus. While there he got word from the followers of Jesus in Corinth about certain problems that were occurring in the church at Corinth. Apparently Paul had done quite a lot of letter writing back and forth to Corinth from Ephesus. He must have been really concerned about this family of Christians in Corinth.

As I read the first four chapters of his first Letter to the church in Corinth (possibly a second one, scholars are unsure) Paul is adamant about the fact that the church must not be divided! I like the fact that Paul focused on telling the believers in Corinth who they already were in Jesus, but weren’t expressing or living like it! He described them as “sanctified in Christ Jesus,” “called to be holy,” “his (God’s) grace given you in Christ Jesus,” “in him you have been enriched in every way,” “our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you,” “you do not lack any spiritual gift,” “you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed,” “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful,” “it is because of him (God) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption,” “we have…received…the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us,” “we have the mind of Christ,” “we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building,” “you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you,” and “you are that temple.” Wow what a list! Sometimes, maybe more so than I realize, I need to hear that as a follower of Jesus, that based on who He is and who I am in Christ Jesus, who the body of Christ is, should transform not only how I think but how I relate to others. It’s all about relationships! I think this is the issue Paul is trying to bring out.

Paul was informed that “there are quarrels among you” and “jealousy” and arrogance because some claimed or boasted about being followers of Paul, Apollos, Peter, or Christ. Paul pointed out that this type of behavior was “worldly,” people who were acting like “mere men.” Then Paul does something amazing! He makes the point that he, Apollos, and Peter were “only servants, through whom (they) came to believe.” Paul didn’t given himself a title or position, just plain Paul! Paul had already written his letter to the churches in Galatia how as followers of Jesus “there is neither Jew nor Greek,” etc. There are no distinctions in Jesus Christ, we “are all one in Christ Jesus” and we are all “heirs according to the promise.” No one in the body should lord it over or dominate others, it goes against what Jesus said in the gospels. When followers of Jesus come together to share life together, to devote “themselves to the apostles teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer” there are no leaders, only One is Head, Jesus Christ. Everyone participates, everyone has freedom to share whenever the body of Christ meets. If someone attempts to call a group or church by their name is this not the same thing? If they are the only ones functioning in the group or drifting the group to something other than Jesus is this not the same thing? Is that not creating a division in the body of Christ? When someone is given a title or position or gives themselves one we have just made a division in the body, clergy and laity comes to mind. If someone attempts to control the group they have made the group theirs not Jesus’. Everyone in the body of Christ make up His temple because “God’s Spirit lives in you” everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. To boast in position or titles in the church, or anything else, whether we do so intentionally or unintentionally, we become anti-Christ because we are to boast only in “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Leaders in the church, according to Jesus, are servants, and it is not based on position or titles or what this world thinks describes a leader. In fact the word used for leader most often used in Scripure is “guide.” They guide people to Jesus! When we base our relationship with others on position or titles according to Paul we are “worldy – mere infants in Christ.”

I like the fact that after all this Paul goes back to describing how he lived among them, he describes his function, what he did, that to be mature is to be a spiritual “father” someone who is focused on others, mentoring and helping others live “the gospel,” to live by Jesus’ life. Paul even sent Timothy to the church in Corinth to “remind (them) of my way of life in Christ Jesus” to model the shared Christian life that apparently they had forgotten. It is so easy to drift away from Jesus to other things. Paul denied himself, took up his cross, and followed Jesus. It’s not about me and what I want, it’s all about Jesus and His desire, His passion to live through His Body.

Lord help me to not lose sight of Your desire to be Head of Your body, to live in and express Yourself through Your body, to mature Your body together, growing organically spiritual fathers and mothers from within the body of Christ, whose sole focus would be knowing “nothing…except Jesus Christ and him crucified” and guiding others towards this same kind of life!

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